One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally Scottish. A tube through which air can be blown, especially a simple form of bellows (obsolete). Now (English regional (northern)): specifically a pea-shooter, (also occasionally) a popgun.
2Scottish. A powder puff.
Puffed up, swollen; soft, spongy. Also figurative. Now chiefly in "pluff mud"noun US regional (chiefly S. Carolina) a type of soft, silty mud found in tidal marshes.
Informal. Representing a puffing or explosive sound. Also as adverb: with a pluff.
verbIrish English, English Regional, Scottish, Northern
1no object To puff; to blow out with a puff, especially suddenly or explosively. Also with object: to blow or propel (something) from the mouth or through a tube. Formerly (Scottish): specifically †to fire a gun, to shoot (obsolete).
2with object To swell up, become puffed up. Frequently with up.
Early 16th century (in an earlier sense). Imitative. Compare West Frisian plof (noun and interjection), Dutch plof, both denoting various sounds produced by falling bodies or exploding gases<br>early 17th century; earliest use found in Zachary Boyd (1585–1653), Church of Scotland minister and university administrator. Imitative. Compare West Frisian ploffe (of objects or bodies) to thud, (of gases) to puff out, to explode, Dutch ploffen (of gases) to puff out, to explode (19th cent.; earlier in senses ‘(of objects or bodies) to thud, fall down heavily’, ‘to make a dull sound’ (both 1566)).
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